Vanity Fair - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vanity Fair Reviews

September 10, 2004
It's lavish but lulling, and at two hours and 18 minutes, it's something of a bore.
September 10, 2004
A less than absorbing adaptation of Thackeray's sprawling but sharp-witted classic.
September 4, 2004
Scene by scene and moment to moment, it's a woeful misreading of the book.
September 3, 2004
Witherspoon moves director Mira Nair's version of Thackeray's social satire forward at a good clip, making Becky's rising and falling fortunes an intensely watchable spectator sport.
September 3, 2004
There is no depth beneath its bright surfaces, no potent emotional undercurrents.
September 3, 2004
A charming movie that falls short of greatness, but is still worth a solid recommendation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 2, 2004
Even with a running time of more than 2 hours, this kind of condensation means we race through the story's second half in a time warp not aided by Nair's garish, out-of-nowhere and out-of-place Indian interludes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
September 2, 2004
Though it's an accomplished production, Vanity Fair ranks as a standard costume drama populated by snide old biddies, aging lords and ladies, manipulative business barons and dashing soldiers.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/5
September 2, 2004
We're left with an increasingly weak-willed protagonist and a narrative with no driving force -- no motor.
September 2, 2004
Nair's turgid, melodramatic travesty of Thackeray's gimlet-eyed satire.
September 1, 2004
Witherspoon's simply terrific, and it's amazing how quickly and easily she sheds speculation that she was too modern for the role.
September 1, 2004
By film's end, audiences are bound to be left dissatisfied with the choppy and confusing storytelling style and unhappy about the missed opportunity.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
September 1, 2004
Lively and mostly successful treatment -- at least until the barbs are blunted in the messy third act.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
September 1, 2004
A pared-down but wonderfully cluttered rendition of Thackeray's work, beautifully acted by a dream troupe of performers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2004
The satire is sharply observed and the performances acutely felt, most of all Witherspoon's.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2004
A lot of things happen, all of it fairly absorbing, some of it rendered vividly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2004
It's one thing to understand Becky -- do we have to love her, too?
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
September 1, 2004
The movie has the look and feel of an ornate runaway carriage that cuts its own path through town and country. With Nair at the reins and Witherspoon as the passenger, we are in good hands and spirited company.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
September 1, 2004
[Nair] clearly loves these characters, the kind and unkind alike. And the proof of this is that she makes them all so marvelously vivid.
Read More | Original Score: 5/5
September 1, 2004
As a film, Vanity Fair has a lot going for it -- including acting and energy.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
September 1, 2004
Instead of a sly critique of hypocrisy and pretense in all social classes, the film is a stodgy, unremarkable costume drama with all the bite of a poodle.
September 1, 2004
With its diminished gravitas, this Becky comes across as a lightweight schemer about as formidable as an aspiring trophy wife on a daytime soap.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
September 1, 2004
Shoehorning all these characters and plot threads into one film is perhaps overly ambitious, but Nair makes Vanity Fair an elegant showcase for an unforgettable heroine.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
September 1, 2004
Crams in so many of the events and characters of Thackeray's 900-page novel that the story often seems to be moving on fast-forward.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
September 1, 2004
On the whole, Nair has mounted a handsome and intelligent production that holds nothing back.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2004
No longer a biting, satirical jab at 19th century English society but a somewhat soppy soap opera about social climbing and romance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
September 1, 2004
A never-ending Western story that benefits from Nair's philosophically Eastern point of view.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
September 1, 2004
Nair navigates narrative waters littered by a shipwreck's worth of detritus; too many characters bob and sink.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
September 1, 2004
This might be tolerable if Nair hadn't missed the central point, that Becky Sharp isn't sharp like spice, she's sharp like a razor.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
September 1, 2004
A bit stiff and predictable.
Read More | Original Score: C-
September 1, 2004
The company (in particular Witherspoon, James Purefoy and Eileen Atkins) is better than pleasant, even when it is behaving badly.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
September 1, 2004
A magnificent viewing experience, with each costume and set capturing the grandeur and squalor of both England and India.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
September 1, 2004
A highly satisfying period-style soap opera with heaving bosoms, elaborate hairdos and a sweeping look at history.
September 1, 2004
The peculiar quality of Vanity Fair, which sets it aside from the Austen adaptations such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, is that it's not about very nice people. That makes them much more interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
September 1, 2004
A Vanity Fair with a lovable Becky Sharp has no reason to exist. It's as if Shakespeare had put Hamlet on Prozac: What's the point?
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
September 1, 2004
Graced with Nair's loving direction, Witherspoon's radiance and that great cast, it is a treat, if somewhat less so than the novel.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
September 1, 2004
Against such bedraggled antagonists, the older, well-seasoned character actors -- among them Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, and Geraldine McEwan -- come on bright but loud, like gangbusters.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
August 31, 2004
At the risk of being brutal, I would say that the Witherspoon of Legally Blonde, a far more bubbleheaded picture, was not merely sharper but Sharper than her Becky.
August 31, 2004
The pacing feels choppy, and the characters' emotions are sometimes too sudden to be believable.
August 31, 2004
Like her heroine, [Nair's] movie bewitches, but lacks bite.
Read More | Original Score: B-
August 30, 2004
Very nice piece of work.
August 27, 2004
A collection of intermittent pleasures than a satisfying emotional repast.
August 26, 2004
The spirit of that most modern of 19th century heroines, Becky Sharp, remains intact, and Nair's Indian touches make for an intriguing, fresh approach.